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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

And he was coming direct to Waupegan for a long stay


Mrs.

Bassett kept lamenting to Professor Kelton her husband's protracted delay in Colorado. He was interested in a mining property there and was waiting for the installation of new machinery, but she expected to hear that he had left for Indiana at any time, and he was coming direct to Waupegan for a long stay. Mrs. Owen was busy with the Waupegan farm and with the direction of her farms elsewhere. On the veranda of her house one might frequently hear her voice raised at the telephone as she gave orders to the men in charge of her properties in central and southern Indiana. Her hearing was perfect and she derived the greatest satisfaction from telephoning. She sold stock or produce on these distant estates with the market page of the "Courier" propped on the telephone desk before her, and explained her transactions zestfully to Professor Kelton and Sylvia. She communicated frequently with the superintendent of her horse farm at Lexington about the "string" she expected to send forth to triumph at county and state fairs. The "Annual Stud Register" lay beside the Bible on the living-room table; and the "Western Horseman" mingled amicably with the "Congregationalist" in the newspaper rack.

The presence of the old professor and his granddaughter at Waupegan continued to puzzle Mrs. Bassett. Mrs. Owen clearly admired Sylvia, and Sylvia was a charming girl--there was no gainsaying that. At the farmhouse a good deal had been said about Sylvia's plans for

going to college. Mrs. Owen had proudly called attention to them, to her niece's annoyance. If Sylvia's advent marked the flowering in Mrs. Owen of some new ideals of woman's development, Mrs. Bassett felt it to be her duty to discover them and to train Marian along similar lines. She felt that her husband would be displeased if anything occurred to thwart the hand of destiny that had so clearly pointed to Marian and Blackford as the natural beneficiaries of the estate which Mrs. Owen by due process of nature must relinquish. In all her calculations for the future Mrs. Owen's fortune was an integer.

Mrs. Bassett received a letter from her husband on Saturday morning in the second week of Sylvia's stay. Its progress from the mining-camp in the mountains had been slow and the boat that delivered the letter brought also a telegram announcing Bassett's arrival in Chicago, so that he was even now on his way to Waupegan. As Mrs. Bassett pondered this intelligence Sylvia appeared at the veranda steps to inquire for Marian.

"She hasn't come down yet, Sylvia. You girls had a pretty lively day yesterday and I told Marian she had better sleep a while longer."

"We certainly have the finest times in the world," replied Sylvia. "It doesn't seem possible that I've been here nearly two weeks."

"I'm glad you're going to stay longer. Aunt Sally told me yesterday it was arranged."

"We really didn't expect to stay more than our two weeks; but Mrs. Owen made it seem very easy to do so."

"Oh, you needn't be afraid of outstaying your welcome. It's not Aunt Sally's way to bore herself. If she didn't like you very much she wouldn't have you here at all; Aunt Sally's always right straight out from the shoulder."

"Marian has done everything to give me a good time. I want you to know I appreciate it. I have never known girls; Marian is really the first girl I have ever known, and she has taught me ever so many things."

"Marian is a dear," murmured Mrs. Bassett.


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